Serving soldier stars as smash hit show comes to Edinburgh

Rosie Kay Dance Company in 10 Soldiers
Rosie Kay Dance Company in 10 Soldiers
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AFTER nearly ten years of touring 5 Soldiers to theatres and Army barracks alike, choreographer Rosie Kay returns to the Capital on Thursday 30 May for one night only with 10 Soldiers.

A decade ago, Kay gained an attachment with The British Army. Her mission was to create a performance that communicated the experiences of young soldiers to the general public through dance.

Kay trained with 4th Battalion The Rifles and spent time with amputees and injured veterans, hearing their stories of camaraderie, commitment, sacrifice and bravery.

This research developed into the hit-show, 5 Soldiers: The Body is the Frontline.

In 2017, the piece gained further traction winning official support from The Army in recognition of its contribution to soldiers’ wellbeing and as an accurate representation of life in the Armed Forces, using a creative artform to communicate the emotions of soldiers.

Now, nearly a decade later Kay has returned to The Army to expand the piece for large stages - with a serving soldier in the cast.

At the Festival Theatre, Alex Smith will complete the cast of 10 who will play the roles of an Army company who train together, building stamina and expertise, before being sent into the heart of a conflict zone.

Together they experience the physical and psychological effects of war, forming life-long friendships along the way while witnessing both the brutality and compassion of which humanity is capable.

With a bigger cast, 10 Soldiers has enabled Kay to dig deeper into relationships between soldiers, including the growing presence of women in the military.

Soldier Smith says, “I’ve been a soldier in The Army for two and a bit years, and saw Rosie Kay Dance Company’s livestream of 5 Soldiers last year.

“A soldier from another regiment shared the video on Facebook and when one of my old teachers tagged me, it spurred me on to contact Rosie and see if there was an opportunity for me to get involved.

“I was beyond nervous the morning of the audition, I knew it was likely that I’d be the only soldier. But it ended up being such a fun and enjoyable experience, and when Rosie called me to say I’d got the part,

“I’ve never been so happy in my life. When I first joined The Army I didn’t tell anyone I was a dancer but now they all know me, I’ve never had more support. There are a lot of stereotypes around who can be a dancer and who dance is for, but I think 10 Soldiers presents a strong case that actually anyone can enjoy dance.”

Choreographer Kay adds, “Working with soldiers over the last 10 years has been an incredible and eye-opening experience.

“A lot has changed in The Army since my initial research ten years ago, so 10 Soldiers is updated to reflect that. Hopefully even more people will have the opportunity to see the show now we are taking it to bigger stages around the country.”

10 Soldiers, Festival Theatre. Nicolson Street, Thursday, 7.30pm, 30 May, £18-£24, 12+ contains violence, 0131-529 6000